What’s in the pack?
Only fools don’t carry tools!
The following list is my every ride carry. Its long but I don’t like walking. With this in your pack you should be covered for rides up to 4hrs in expected length with probable cell phone coverage if something goes seriously wrong.
Full day backcountry riding is a whole different discussion.
Cell phone: This is your emergency lifeline. While you might not always have coverage in the KC metro you will 90% of the time. With navigation apps like MTBproject.com you can download maps for the state your riding in and see your location on the trail map in real time no cell coverage required. MTBproject is a user contribution site so the maps are only as good as what riders provided to them.
Multitool: Pick one that covers the allens, torx (not all tools have Torx so double check) that your bike uses and has a chain tool. Lots of extra tools are just extra weight and space. My current tool of choice is the Topeak Mini 18.
Pump: The simple pump is my preferred method of supplying air. It can work for years and normally your arms will fail before it will. For MTB look for a high volume pump it will make things go faster my current pump of choice is the Topeak Mountain TT 100cc (see CO2 below)
C02 & matching head: (bonus) many have been lured into using this as their primary and only air source. I believe it is a short sighted choice. C02 is good for setting tubeless beads, and racers looking for a quick fix. It’s single shot nature makes it expensive and wasteful, If your just riding the trail. Also many CO2 canisters are not big enough to properly fill a 29r or 27.5+ size tire.
Patch kit glueless: Cheap and effective save the glue patches for home maintenance. Slime Skabs work for me.
Tube: Preferably the correct size for your tires, but in a pinch almost any size will work 29r tube in 26” wheel and even a fat bike wheel. If your nice to it it will get you out, but replace with proper tube or go tubeless before your next ride. Best practice is to carry a presta valve tube as it will fit in a presta or schrader rim.
Tire levers: While many can remove a tire without them, a good set of 2 tire levers is essential. My current set is Park TL-4.2, Pedros also make a wonderful tire lever.
Tire boot: Get a sidewall cut on tubeless or tubed and a tire boot is needed. You can hack one using an energy bar wrapper, dollar bill, gorilla tape (basically anything flexible) or buy one from Park TB-2
Zip ties: Can be used for tying things up, making a fixie when you break your freewheel, more options than I can list. The more imagination you have the more uses you will find.
Plug kit: A must have for the tubeless rider. Kit should include insertion tool, storage for extra “bacon strips” and allow the insertion tool to be preloaded for quick deployment. Bonus for one that includes a valve wrench. My current tool of choice is the Genuine Innovations Tackle Box.
Quick link: Matching your drive train. I like to tape mine to my cables so I always have and don’t lose it.
Quick link pliers: (bonus) While not an essential it’s awesome addition. My current tool of choice is the Wolftooth master link pliers.
Shifter cable: (bonus) Good for doing its job and to use for the quick link removal hack (google it).
Small bottle lube: Fix dry chain, help loosen a tight link or anything else that is sticking.
Brake pad: (bonus) I have used when I have unexpectedly worn my pads down. Also have had the material of one break off during a ride (very rare but I had the joy).
Water: The most your body can absorb is 32oz per hour. I normally plan one 24 oz water bottle per hour for hot summer days. Preride hydration can make a world of difference, I make it standard practice to drink 20 oz of water on the way to the trailhead. Water mixes with electrolytes, sugar and other “fuel” is very individual dependent, some do one bottle of mix and one of water only experience will tell what your body needs.
Nutrition: clif bar, energy gel, blocks etc. for long rides 2hr+ some will find it essential to keep from bonking. Most riders with proper diet and nutrition should be able to sustain a 2 hr high output ride without requiring food during the ride. Everyone is different so there are no hard and fast rules.
Simple first aid kit: Gloves, gauze pads, coflex self adhering tape. Your goal on the trail is stop bleeding and get to civilization. Anything you do on the trail should be removed recleaned, sterilized and rebandaged at home or in the ER. Day hike kits from companies like Adventure Medical Kits are a good place to start, but are normally overflowing with fluff. Adjust your kit for you. When adjusting your kit think of what you will be willing to actually do when tired, sweaty and covered in dirt from a crash! Medications in the kit, Tylenol(acetaminophen) is the recommended pain reliever as it does not slow clotting. Advil(ibuprofen) is not recommended because it does slow clotting, If you have allergy issues, a few benadryl can be nice to have along. Some people are allergic to these medications so ask before you allow others to use.
Wet wipes: (your TP and hand sanitizer in one) Can make your day so much better if you have an ineffective PRD.
Paper towel/Old rag: Clean your glasses, wipe your face, clean your hands after fixing a flat.
Gorilla tape: Wrap it around your pump or seat tube for easy storage. You can use as tire boot or to quiet your overly fit friend that won't stop chatting on the climbs..., and other uses.
Shock Pump: If you ride a full suspension bike this is a nice addition to carry when hitting new terrain or you just got the bike/fork/shock and are still fine tuning setup.
Derailleur hanger: Specific for your bike, your LBS can help you, having one can save a long walk.
Mixed fasteners: (bonus) Nice to have some extra fasteners cleat bolt, chainring bolt, etc
Using a go box keeps you organized and helps you not forget those essential items.
Riders who use this method tend to have less trailhead sadness than those who don't.
Floor pump & gauge: You want to have less tire issues check your pressure before every ride.
Lube: Keep your drivetrain running smooth and quiet a quick application at the trailhead before every ride. My long standing lube of choice is White Lightning epic ride. Don’t forget to wipe off the excess.
Spare tube: Always nice to have.
Bug spray: Keeps you from being the one always bumming a spray in the lot.
Shoes: The number of rides lost every year by people forgetting their shoes is tragic don’t leave home without them!
Helmet: Never ride without! Never forget at home!
Gloves: Some chose not to use, but they have saved my hands from pain so many times I hate to ride without them.
Riding Glasses: More important in the midwest than other areas due to the majority of our trails being in the forest. You only have 2 eyes you lose them and there won't be much singletrack in your future. But you might look good as a pirate. Even cheap $5 safety glasses are better than nothing.
Sweatband: If your a sweaty pig like me it’s nice to have. I use the halo II
Butt Butter: This little product can make a world of difference if your finding you have butt issues. Chamois Butter a local company out of Pleasant Valley, MO is the leader in this field.
TP and Wet wipes: Nice to have when needing a trailhead PRD and the outhouse (bush) is out.
Spare bottle: You or someone else will forget one at some point. If it’s only water it will last a long time.
Paper towels/old rag: Riding is messy.
Want to print it out here is a link https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ahGyvMB5pxrCjYqIIyaoO27Xm4aZ5o0estjDGVcXMOI/edit?usp=sharing